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Tashfeen Suleman, CEO and Dr. Jim Lebret, Medical Director at CloudMedx interviewed about HIT predictions for 2017
by 
Mike Foley
February 1, 2017

HIT in 2017 and for the long haul

You might want to fasten your seat belt. This year could be a bumpy ride.

With a new administration in the White House and the fate of the Affordable Care Act in limbo, the beginning of 2017 portends a lot of turbulence for our healthcare IT journey ahead.

Luckily, we have a host of new in-flight technologies to help us with our travels, and the timing couldn’t be better to put them to the test. Precision medicine, artificial intelligence, and telemedicine are right there in front of us and ready to be used. We’ll also need assistance with navigation, better ways of working together, and to stay safe along the way. Data management, interoperability solutions, and security tools can help us face those challenges.

And if you need advice and a little comfort and companionship from a fellow passenger or pilot, look no further. HMT’s industry experts are here to provide their knowledge about what lies ahead for patients and providers alike.

It’s a weird feeling not to know where you’re going, but we can handle a change in plans. We’ve certainly done that before, and we’ll get there one way or another.

The big picture

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Richard Loomis

Richard Loomis, Chief Medical Officer and VP of Informatics, Practice Fusion

This is the year that healthcare will revitalize its humanity. In 2016, the healthcare industry made a number of meaningful strides in the move to value-based care, culminating in October with CMS releasing the Final Rule for implementing the Quality Payment Program. In 2017, this focus on value-based care through new payment models will begin to shift to the greater value found in restoring the provider-patient relationship. 2017 offers an opportunity for health IT to support this focus, starting with unwinding the complexity of care delivery and the burden of measuring outcomes. Below are three themes we anticipate seeing in this year:

  1. The year of EHR usability: EHR usability will become a critical success factor for providers as the burden of quality reporting continues to grow in an increasingly fee-for-value world. ractices already spend $40,000 per provider per year reporting quality measures—a sum of more than $15.4 billion each year.1 These costs will increase in 2017 and have a disproportionate impact on small practices. It will be financially prohibitive to practice medicine without a user-friendly EHR.
  2. Meaningful measures of interoperability: Continuing to add subjective measures for interoperability is not sustainable for physicians, especially those in small private practices. Rather than try to develop measures for the myriad of ways interoperability may be occurring and mandating reporting for those measures, in 2017 we will assess where interoperability is needed for providers and how it can be expanded and improved to fulfill unmet needs.
  3. Real World Evidence comes of age: Real World Evidence (RWE) will increasingly be valued by the healthcare and life sciences industries to augment other forms of clinical research. Although randomized clinical trials continue to be the gold standard for establishing efficacy and safety, they may not reflect typical patient care or day-to-day experiences. The FDA has already signaled their interest in RWE, and in 2017 we will see further support through the bipartisan 21st Century Cures Act passed into law.

Just as 2016 was an exciting year of transition in healthcare, 2017 will be no different.

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Angela Rivera

Angela Rivera, Vice President, Health Solutions, Computer Task Group (CTG)

  • The evolution from fee for service to pay for performance will only accelerate. This fundamental shift is being driven not only by the usual suspects (whether they be insurers or the government, payers fundamentally agree that costs must be reined in) but also increasingly by consumers themselves. What will differentiate 2017 from previous years is that this shift will not be subtle. The pay-for-performance era is here. As a result, organizations will increasingly be called on to demonstrate continuous improvement.
  • Long-standing legacy systems, including ERP and other core administrative systems across the industry—both in hospital and payer environments—will reach a point of diminishing returns. As the industry continues to change, and transformative trends (like the move toward pay for performance) march forward, IT infrastructures will need to be upgraded and, in many instances, replaced—all on a much greater scale than in years past.
  • The gap between organizations that are ahead of the curve on policy changes and the technological advancements they require and those that are not will widen. Everything from an organization’s efforts to optimize existing systems and workflows, to rulings such as CMS’ final 2,398-page ruling on the Quality Payment Program, will further differentiate those organizations that use technology effectively from the late adopters. MACRA is a great example: Practices that fail to participate in the required data reporting will see payment adjustments of up to 4% in the first reporting year and up to 9% thereafter. In fact, it’s safe to predict that this alone could result in increased consolidation among smaller practices as some look to gain the technology and transformative resources needed to better address final MACRA rules.
  • Customer experience will be on everyone’s minds. Despite all of the changes shaping the industry, the consumerization of healthcare will continue, making it imperative for all sectors of the industry to provide consumers with the tools and services necessary to navigate the complexities associated with healthcare and make sound personal healthcare decisions. For this reason, leading healthcare providers will increasingly adopt and deploy service desks that address the needs of consumers and internal users.
  • Security concerns extend beyond patient privacy data and the cloud. It is undisputed that security concerns have been top of mind for some time now, and these concerns only continued to increase as reports of healthcare organizations being hacked in the United States have grown in number. Looking ahead to 2017, there is a need to continue the laser focus on these potential breaches as they relate to medical records and privacy issues, but organizations should now also be looking closely at their safeguards against breaches associated with medical and biomedical devices. These devices are connected—often with limited or no security—to the hospital’s network, making patient data stored and transmitted through these devices accessible.

 

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Tom Bizzaro

Tom Bizzaro, VP of Health Policy and Industry Relations, First Databank

  • Proliferation of e-prescribing. We are witnessing a huge opioid epidemic and abuse of prescription drugs. While the technology has been around for many years, every state now allows e-prescribing of controlled substances. E-prescribing can help track and control the transfer of information, which will help eliminate adverse drug events and lead to a decrease in drug abuse. According to the 2015 National Progress Report and Safe-Rx Rankings,2 since 2012, e-prescriptions have nearly doubled. In 2015 alone, there were 1.41B e-prescriptions—that’s almost 3,000 a minute. In the Surescripts 2015 National Progress Report, it was estimated that more than 75% of prescriptions are electronic. These numbers will only get bigger as more states, like New York, mandate e-prescribing.
  • Telehealth continues. In today’s world, time has value, and patients are much less willing to spend their time waiting for care. People don’t need to go to a physician to have them diagnose a skin rash, for example. The patient could take a picture and send it electronically. We’re seeing a drastic expansion in the delivery of healthcare that doesn’t require face-to-face interaction: using Skype for virtual doctor visits, a physician in California can read a medical image taken from Boston, and people using a kiosk can get access to a nurse consultation. These actions have become commonplace, and much more is expected as telemedicine continues to expand.
  • Advent of universal ID codes for med devices. A recent article in Health Affairs3 stated that the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services—the official auditor of the Medicare program—found that device failures probably cost taxpayers “several billions of dollars on monitoring, hospitalization, surgeries, imaging, post-acute care, and physician costs.” Vendors that sell medical devices to healthcare organizations must meet the FDA’s mid-September deadline to get unique identifiers and meet requirements to match them with devices and accompanying software. There would be big benefits if the specific device implanted in a patient could be recorded on the health insurance claim forms used to reimburse hospitals.
  • Expanded role of the pharmacist in patient care. The pharmacist is the physician’s partner in providing care and improving outcomes. Pharmacists are becoming a more integrated part of the care team, and local pharmacies are providing additional care options. Pharmacist education is also changing to ensure they have the skills required for their expanding role.
  • Increase in Centers of Excellence. Providers that can show excellence in certain specialty procedures and care will become preferred, and sometimes exclusive, providers. This helps narrow the network to reimburse only procedures done in facilities that show exceedingly positive, quality outcomes. Not only will this improve outcomes, but it will also be more cost effective as it decreases readmissions and complications.
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Bruce Johnson

Bruce Johnson, CEO, Global Healthcare Exchange (GHX)

Despite considerable uncertainty over the future of the Affordable Care Act, the need to deliver better quality care at a more affordable cost remains constant. In 2017, healthcare technology should see a continued and heightened focus on data quality and visibility for a variety of purposes, from reducing costly errors in business transactions to understanding what products and therapies deliver the best outcomes for patients. There is a lot of excitement over advances in analytics, but the success of those new technologies depends upon the accuracy and accessibility of data. Further, many organizations recognize there is still significant waste in the system that can be eliminated through increased automation and better data, reducing the need for manual intervention.

We also anticipate the continued mergers, acquisitions, and other organizational alliances by both providers and suppliers seeking economies of scale, the success of which all depends on being able to integrate and share data. Suppliers will continue to focus on consolidating back-office systems so they can devote more resources toward serving an increasingly decentralized customer base as care moves to more non-acute settings.

Finally, after decades of talking about the need for data standards, we see real momentum with the implementation of the U.S. FDA unique device identification (UDI) rule in the United States, and the European Union planning to issue its own version of the rule this year. More than 50% of suppliers we surveyed have or plan to implement GS1 standards within the next two years, and providers will increasingly take advantage of the product identifiers if not to improve their own data quality, then at a minimum to meet upcoming regulatory requirements to capture UDIs for implantable devices.

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Paris B. Lovett, M.D.

Paris B. Lovett, M.D, Chief Medical Officer, HospitalIQ

Despite the uncertainty about the future of the Affordable Care Act, the three Es—efficiency, effectiveness, and experience—will remain a priority for the industry. We can expect to see more being done with bundled payments, as well as increased levels of transparency related to both price and quality. Hospitals will still face intense pressure to improve efficiency and the patient experience. This will drive hospitals to look for ways to reduce inpatient care, whether it’s doing more in day clinics or conducting more post-acute care in people’s homes.

Regardless of “repeal” or “replace,” hospitals will have less room for error with bed allocation, so technologies that help automate and align resources, such as staff, operating rooms, and inpatient beds, will be in greater demand.

Telemedicine today and tomorrow

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Michael Sherling

Michael Sherling, M.D., MBA, Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer, Modernizing Medicine

As we enter 2017 and continue to see healthcare technology and delivery evolve, it’s important to reflect on progress, hurdles, and what lies ahead. Key areas of focus in recent months and years have been improved access to care and quality; telemedicine is a technology and strategy that has been highly touted for its potential to improve both.

Since its inception, telemedicine has been a hotly debated topic throughout the healthcare space. The potential has always been evident, but the technology, compliance, and financial models have required ongoing refinement to make this remote care delivery model viable. While early models and technologies were clunky, telemedicine is quickly becoming more mainstream and accepted by patients, providers, and payers. Unfortunately, it seems as if telemedicine took a backstage role during 2016. However, it appears that in 2017 it will thrive, in particular with the new language in the 21st Century Cures Act. This groundbreaking legislation mandates4 that by March 2018, Congress is advised which telehealth services are eligible for reimbursement by Medicare and private payers.

Many physicians view telemedicine as an alternative and efficient way to serve patients. It allows them to provide timely treatment, diagnosis, and professional advice for patients when a virtual visit is appropriate. Often, patients are not able to come into the physical doctor’s office for a variety of reasons, including a lack of mobility or geographic separation. In addition, telemedicine creates a convenient way to treat and assist patients that might not require an in-person appointment, such as follow-up for a rash or acne.

While physicians should understand how new technologies may fit into their workflow before adopting them, telemedicine can provide a unique opportunity for physicians to up-level their business and patient care. With smartphones becoming ubiquitous across the general populace, the primary tools already exist to enable this innovative and powerful new care delivery model.

Here are a few telemedicine thoughts that may come into play in 2017 andbeyond:

  1. Telemedicine solution within the EHR System. Currently, only a few select vendors and healthcare providers offer telemedicine, and even fewer have it integrated with their EHR system. As the importance of patient engagement grows, the need for patients and physicians to have access to accurate medical information such as medications and allergies will be critical for its future success. One platform that includes both the EHR system and the telemedicine solution solves this patient safety concern.
  2. Additional revenue stream. With telemedicine, physicians may add a revenue stream to their practices. First, if a patient is a no-show, providers can fill that time treating patients virtually and still get paid for their time. Physicians can also see patients in the office who may have more immediate needs and use telehealth technology to care for patients who can simply share a photo for a quick follow-up visit.
  3. Rural care should improve. It’s no secret that access to healthcare in rural areas is a challenge. Telemedicine can provide physicians with another means to access their patients and care for them without an in-office visit, thus changing how patients living in remote areas are treated.
  4. Even more data can surface. Data is crucial to navigating today’s complicated healthcare landscape. It allows physicians to identify and treat complicated diseases, build up focus areas for their practice, or measure patient satisfaction. Telemedicine data will create more opportunities for physicians to improve customer service and their disease-lines for patients.

Technology continues to play an increasingly larger role in improving physician efficiency and patient care. For physicians who have mainly charted on paper or utilized old technology, new systems may be a challenge, but those who do their homework and understand which systems and technologies best fit their practice and patients should thrive.

The healthcare space is moving forward. By the time our predictions come to fruition, it is likely another form of technology will surface. That said, we do see telemedicine as a huge opportunity and one worth further exploration and adoption. It will require a group effort to achieve some of the positive outcomes I’ve outlined, but I do believe that the patients, providers, and vendors are up for the challenge.

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John Squire

John Squire, President and COO, Amazing Charts

The reality of telemedicine today entails patients connecting with their doctor by securely sending text messages, videos, and pictures with their smartphones. These touchpoints are then captured in the provider’s EHR system and integrated into the patient’s chart/record for accuracy.

While this approach may not require a high level of tech, this type of remote care given by providers is still considered telemedicine, and it will become more and more common over the next year—especially in the direct primary care (DPC) market. Typically, DPC providers take a monthly membership fee from patients in exchange for 24/7 care. As such, most DPC doctors offer secure messaging anytime to provide high-level customer service. For example, patients who visit DPC physicians who use Amazing Charts can easily access their provider by using InLight EHR’s Twistle integration that enables HIPAA secure messaging.

In addition to texting, consumers are becoming technologically savvy and using wearables to gauge their health. Telemedicine will further increase as these technologies enable real-time collection of biometric data such as temperature, blood pressure, and pulse. The latest versions of Fitbits, Apple Watches, etc., will continue to empower patients to stay healthy and active.

In 2017, the expansion of reimbursement for non face-to-face services will also fuel the growth of telemedicine. Medicare’s new billing code for chronic care management illustrates that the future of value-based care does not require 15-minute office visits. Instead, the healthcare environment is shifting toward keeping patients out of the office with follow-up phone calls about medications and answering patient questions via text.

Today’s telemedicine does not necessarily mean video conferencing between physicians and patients in remote locations, but the market may eventually evolve to that level of care. This futuristic view of virtual visits has not come to fruition, mainly because patients don’t want to speak with doctors that don’t have a full picture of their health. Until the interoperability issue is fixed, this will likely remain unchanged.

AI gets the chance to prove itself

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Anil Jain, M.D.

Anil Jain, M.D., FACP, VP and Chief Health Informatics Officer, Value-Based Care, IBM Watson Health

We at Watson Health use the term “augmented intelligence” rather than “artificial intelligence,” given that our AI aids and assists rather than replaces the role of the clinician. Cognitive technologies coupled with traditional data sciences can quickly read and understand clinical and social data and connect relevant pieces of information to identify areas of risk, apply published guidelines, and then make recommendations on how to best manage the care of the specific individual. Ultimately, the care team makes the final determination but is assisted through cognitive technologies to make population health management a bit more person-centric.

Chronic conditions are a perfect use case for cognitive technologies. Appropriately managing chronic conditions is critical if we are to reduce the unnecessary healthcare spend. Managing chronic conditions requires monitoring various markers (vital signs, blood tests, symptoms, etc.) of disease activity to determine whether patients are optimally managed. Cognitive technologies can examine care paths and disease markers and identify the most appropriate treatment options. For example, Watson Health, in partnership with Medtronic, is developing the first generation of an app expected to uncover important patterns and trends in diabetic patients based on retrospective analysis of patients’ insulin, continuous glucose monitors, and nutritional data. Augmented Intelligence from cognitive technologies can also benefit patients with multiple chronic conditions in which various therapies may interact, leading to complications and poor outcomes. The complexity of these patients can often make it difficult to apply specific guidelines, but cognitive insights can help examine the evidence of various condition-specific guidelines and provide evidence-based recommendations.

Finally, AI can help make big data more actionable. Over the last decade, health systems have made considerable investments in EHRs, enterprise business intelligence, and analytics to respond to various internal and external programs to help improve their quality, reduce cost of care, and measure performance across the organization. Many of these efforts have led to enterprise data warehouses or large data marts, with many of them engineered for traditional analytics based on well-described business rules and rigid definitions. However, with cognitive technologies coupled with big data cloud technologies, health systems can have more degrees of freedom on how they define their metrics, include more disparate unstructured data, and have more timely analytics.

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Tashfeen Suleman
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Dr. Jim Lebret

Tashfeen Suleman, CEO, and Dr. Jim Lebret, Medical Director of Clinical Analytics, CloudMedx

2017 will bring about the awareness that while EHRs were great data-entry tools, they need to do a lot more as patient volumes, and their complexity, rise. It is putting a lot of pressure on both the health systems as well as individual doctors who are burdened by maintaining high quality in a clinical environment as well as maintaining revenue. Tools such as AI will help alleviate most of these pressures. For example:

  • Natural language processing: the ability to read clinical notes from electronic records and understand them like doctors do.
  • Machine learning: the ability to learn from data, make correlations, and make predictions for risks, diagnosis, and outcomes.
  • Predictive analytics: being able to model and predict what is going to happen is a game-changer for many aspects of medicine.

Together, these artificial intelligence tools combine to become greater than the sum of their parts. They serve to unlock the data bottleneck in healthcare and can literally help save lives. Ideally, these AI tools will turn the raw data into information that clinicians will find current, digestible, accurate, and actionable.

For example, a patient may report an allergy to penicillin on a questionnaire. With AI tools, the information can automatically be taken up, processed, placed into the right area of the chart, and even surfaced at a specific moment (i.e., if a penicillin script is written). Another example could be where a system can prompt an unnecessary test or a test that has already been done, thereby saving costs and redundancies in the system. These tools will never replace the clinician but will powerfully augment the clinician to deliver the highest level of patient care.

Precision medicine

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David Delaney, M.D.

David Delaney, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, SAP HEALTH

In 2017, precision medicine is poised to begin to deliver on its promise. We are reaching an inflection point where drivers will cause sustained acceleration that will ultimately lead to broad transformation of healthcare.

Continued gains in machine learning, in-memory computing, and advanced visualization will power more nuanced precision medicine. This will enable deeper insights at the moment of decision in a democratized fashion across the enterprise.

But real-world challenges have largely related to interoperability rather than sophistication of analysis. There is good news here with continued maturation and adoption of standards such as Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR). Though there will be fits and starts along the way, 2017 will see progress from a “marketing checkbox” adoption of interoperability standards to a deeper embrace. This will be driven by customers leveraging these services in real scenarios and driving more sophisticated implementations. The political and social winds are blowing strongly toward freeing data, and this will motivate vendors to be on the right side of history—and avoid ending up in front of Congress. The road to seamless interchange may be a thousand-mile journey, but we will be well underway in 2017.

In the past, provider interest in precision medicine has been uneven. There will be progress here too. Nearly 20% of payments are now value based, and the trend is accelerating. This reality seems to have penetrated, causing many organizations to begin to skate toward the proverbial puck even though their payer mix of today isn’t forcing immediate action. And, in healthcare, once movement starts, the rest of the market follows quickly along.

2017 is just the beginning. Ever-cheaper sequencing and the explosion of omics data, along with computational power to make sense of it, ensures that we will continue to see accelerating change as healthcare transforms to a data-driven enterprise.

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Drew Ivan

Drew Ivan, Director of Business Technology, Orion Health

With major projects like ICD-10 and Meaningful Use largely behind us and new initiatives like precision medicine in the future, 2017 will be a transitional year. A great deal of technology infrastructure has been laid down, and 2017 will be the year to deal with some of the implications of these technology investments and get started on some of the value-added functions they enable. Over the past eight years, the healthcare industry has invested heavily in an EHR infrastructure, and in 2017 the risks and rewards related to this investment will begin to come to fruition.

Enabling a shift to value-based reimbursement will be one reward. It will be critical to ensure that the rewards associated with value-based reimbursement flow back to the providers who are enabling it through their increased documentation efforts.

Another reward will be the ability to track specific genomic, behavioral, and social data to enable precision medicine and provide better outcomes than ever before.

President Obama’s signature healthcare project, the Precision Medicine Initiative, and Vice President Biden’s closely related Cancer Moonshot project put the focus on precision medicine in 2016. The 21st Century Cures Act continues funding for these programs into 2017 and beyond, so we should expect continued momentum in this area.

While these programs focus on genetic aspects of precision medicine, a new kind of precision medicine is also emerging. Behavioral and social determinants of health are just as specific to an individual and have just as much impact as genetics. These factors also have the advantage of being easier to manage at a lower cost.

Therefore, in 2017, we should expect to see a broadening of the definition of precision medicine. In the past, the term has been synonymous with genetic variations, but going forward, we’ll see a more comprehensive picture of a patient’s status being used to tailor treatments for their unique situation.

The need to focus on security is a sure thing

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David Finn

David Finn, Health IT Officer, Symantec

2016 taught me a great lesson: predictions and trends don’t amount to much—remember that election thing? What actually happens is what matters.

Being human, we can’t help but prophesize and forecast the future. The way I see it, a lot of what happens in 2017 in healthcare and HIT depends on what becomes of the Affordable Care Act and how the business of healthcare will be incented and paid for. That is prophecy, at this point. We know that changing the business model will change care, reimbursement, and the number of covered lives, impacting the technology needed and how it is used.

Here are some things we do know will happen in 2017, no matter what happens in Washington, D.C.:

  • Healthcare data will continue to be valuable and easier to get than other valuable data.
  • Cyber criminals of all types will continue to target healthcare organizations.
  • Insiders will continue to be a problematic link in the security chain, because we will continue to ignore them as both a weakness and a strength.
  • Sharing health data for treatment, payment, and operations will expand.
  • The Internet of Things will impact healthcare in ways we have not yet imagined.
  • Organizations that try to improve security by adding all manners of systems, technology, and people with limited understanding of security and/or healthcare will make security worse.
  • Organizations that address security with a holistic approach using sound systems, security engineering techniques, and security design principles can make their systems less vulnerable; reduce damage caused by disruptions, hazards, and threats; and improve resilience against attacks so they can continue to support critical missions and business functions after being compromised.

Population health benefits med adherence, outcomes-based care, seniors

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Sean Cannone, D.O., CMD

Sean Cannone, D.O., CMD, Senior Vice President and Executive Medical Director, Evolution Health

As we move into 2017, we will see a greater need to increase patient engagement, enhance the quality of care, and improve patient outcomes. We have to start by adopting a patient-centered approach.

Three of the most important strategies for advancing outcomes-based care and a patient-centered care model include:

  1. Utilizing a platform that aligns healthcare resources and patients’ individual healthcare needs on a 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week basis.
  2. Employing an integrated multidisciplinary team that includes the ongoing involvement of a clinical pharmacist.
  3. Leveraging technology in meaningful ways to identify high-risk patients proactively within a population, coordinate healthcare resources, foster communication among the healthcare team, and support patient care navigation.

Providers must tailor therapy to patients’ personal preferences, care goals, and life circumstances, so patients take on a more active role in their health and improve their medication adherence. Additionally, we can optimize patient care in a time-sensitive manner by utilizing an interprofessional healthcare team, such as pharmacists for anticoagulation management, medication regimen reviews, and patient education.

We also know that most patients are not intentionally non-adherent. Adherence is a complicated issue with many possible causes that can include financial challenges, adverse events, memory deficits, and poor health literacy—all of which affect patients to varying degrees. Increased access to technology such as smartphone applications and text messages provides unique opportunities for pharmacists and other healthcare providers to monitor and improve patients’ medication adherence. Technology tends to impact patients with logistics- or memory-related issues the greatest. Meanwhile, for those with primarily social or psychosocial barriers, there is a more muted effect. At Evolution Health, we have found that it is most effective to use technology as a supplement to face-to-face or telephonic communication.

The best technological practices for improving medication adherence involve those that have direct patient contact; this can be telephonic in nature. Face-to-face interaction through video conferencing may be more impactful since it maintains the human element of the patient-clinician interaction. However, the most important element is not the mode of communication, but the frequency of patient encounters. Typically, more frequent patient encounters result in improved medication adherence and patient education. To maintain sustainability, we must leverage the services of an interprofessional team. Apps and text messaging can then serve as technological adjuncts, providing helpful reminders and educational information.

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Travis Palmquist

Travis Palmquist, VP and General Manager for Senior Living, PointClickCare

  • More need for medication management. The average assisted-living resident is on nine medications! Multiply that across hundreds of residents a facility houses. It’s a huge challenge. But families expect that their loved ones will have accurate and efficient meds administration. You need technology to achieve that.
  • More connections to reduce medication-related risk. It’s time to put the connections in “connected health.” With the dispensation of nine different medications per resident across an entire community, you can’t have errors. So we are seeing technology emerge in the form of electronic communications with pharmacy, automated time windows, and alerts. The key is to use technology, when possible, to help minimize risk as much as possible.
  • The evolution of the portal to keep families in touch. We are now seeing an exciting assortment of creative resident-engagement tools as well as family portals. This area of technology is growing quickly, and operators need to stay on top of it.
  • Technology enabling better service capture and documentation. For some senior care facilities using paper workflows, all input needs to be logged separately. Others may have information buried in multiple systems that don’t talk to each other. All this makes it harder to capture, track, and ensure that services, especially “unscheduled services,” are being recorded. If not, they won’t get billed. And this is an industry that is 95% to 100% private pay. We need to see an ROI. We now have technology that will automatically make across-the-board changes as well as tightly integrate services with the billing records.
  • Data will drive senior care’s participation in ACOs and other managed-care groups. The metrics that acute care facilities use to measure cost and quality don’t always align with data points senior care providers collect. Providers who can prove their performance against an accountable care organization’s metrics or other providers on value-based care contracts—and make actionable decisions to further improve what they’ve measured—will position themselves better for the coming years.
  • The Internet of Things/Machine-to-Machine (IoT and M2M) revolution will continue in senior care. Sensors ported to data and communications systems that alert caregivers will make them more quickly able to respond to residents’ needs than ever before.

Data management at the core of almost every operation

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Ramon Chen

Ramon Chen, Healthcare Data Management Expert and Chief Marketing Officer, Reltio

  1. Organizations will double down on building a compliant culture. With distributed data sources, the commercialization of IT, increasing mobile use, and demands to get faster access to data, compliance teams are more challenged today than ever before. In 2017, we’ll see more healthcare organizations using technology to manage, enforce, and build a compliant culture, so that all employees adopt best practices in handling sensitive data. Allowing teams to share and collaborate on data while keeping it safe and secure results in a significant competitive advantage.
  2. We’ll see more inroads toward patient centricity. The rise of the “p-suite” has been a continuing trend, but technology capable of managing sensitive data while attaining a single view of patients has still been a challenge. 2016 saw increased use of modern data management platforms to protect patient and consumer data. 2017 will see cloud data management vendors offering HITRUST-certified platforms while bringing together reliable data across a variety of sources that make a 360-degree patient view, and subsequent personalized engagement, a reality.
  3. Time to market will continue to shrink. Healthcare organizations are facing growing pressure to differentiate disease treatments. Speed and agility are essential. 2017 will bring more data management technologies, helping them further shorten time to market. Additionally, innovation in mobile, predictive analytics, machine learning, and new data-driven applications will provide easily-accessible and complete views of stakeholders, so users can better orchestrate customer engagement to achieve commercial and R&D goals.
  4. Personalized medicine will evolve. While precision medicine, as outlined by President Obama’s initiative in January 2015, is a boon for the industry and patients, it’s been viewed as either an opportunity or threat to healthcare organizations. In 2017, we’ll see personalized medicine become a reality, with modern data management platforms distilling information down to what really matters for each patient. This will lead to better efficacy, outcomes, and justifiable value, and the associated level of transparency will improve the entire healthcare ecosystem for all parties involved.
  5. More healthcare organizations will adopt an integrated approach to data. Various business units within an organization typically access, use, and manage their own data sets to solve their own business challenges in sales, marketing, and compliance. CIOs and CDOs at leading healthcare companies have already implemented technologies that enable a single, complete, and reliable pool of data accessible by all employees. With cloud data management platforms dramatically lowering typical cost and resource barriers to achieve shared data nirvana, many more will follow suit in 2017.

REFERENCES

  1. Health Affairs. US Physician Practices Spend More Than $15.4 Billion Annually To Report Quality Measures (March 2016).
  2. http://surescripts.com/news-center/national-progress-report-2015/
  3. Health Affairs. Time To Fix The Black Hole In Medicare Data (June 2016).
  4. https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/6/text
  • ble their investment in analytics focused on healthcare provider data to reach millennial and gen x doctors the way they prefer it: electronically.
https://www.healthmgttech.com/hit-2017-long-haul